Julie Ann Weinstein has
over ninety published stories and is a Pushcart Nominee, freelance
writer, editorial consultant and flash fiction workshop leader. She
is also published under the name Julie Ann Shapiro.
with Julie Ann Weinstein
How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?
Julie Ann Weinstein: Flashes
from the Other World, the story collection emerged while working on my
second novel. I'd say it took approxinatley a year. The stories are
flashes from the other worlds and are representative of the states
between reality and not.
The collection itself and the majority of my stories are in the vein of
magic realism which is a style of fiction that first became popular in
Latin America with writers like Isabelle Allende and Gabriel Garcia
Marquez. I think of magic realism as reality that is slightly bent as
compared to science fiction which stretches the bounds of reality
exponentially. In my writing it's often a surreal landscape where the
question of what is a dream and what is reality blur. It can be a place
where the intangible becomes tangible, whether it's a ghost or a
flower, vegetables, grains of sand or even a snail talking. In a world
where things are often perceived as black and white, I see the shades
and layers in between, finding new colors where the human emotions and
the senses come alive.
have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
JAW: Not at first. The early suggestion for the collection came from an
inquiry from the publisher, Pulp Pits. They admired my writing and
wanted to release a story collection as an ebook back in 2006. The
original version they produced was only eighty six pages.
Whey they went out of business I looked at these initial stories
and expanded the collection based on the common themes of the
paranormal, relationships and the surreal. This new collection is nearly
double the original size and has since become a finalist in the
Seventeenth Annual San Diego Book Awards.
you choose which stories to include and in what order?
chose the order based on the themes, The Paranormal, Relationships, and
The Surreal. I also positioned the stories by light and dark tones as
well as by size.
does the word "story"
mean to you?
JAW: To entertain, to enrich, to educate and to take readers to a whole new world.
write my stories from a magic realist perspective. I see wonder in the
world and things magical. This is coupled with the sometimes congruent
and incongruent dance of both the tangible and the intangible forces and
in that space realism is not quite so central of an emphasis. Being
realistic is after all a relative term. The emotions,
senses and the reactions of my characters are realistic. In my stories
it’s a place where a grain of sand can become a phantom or where Elvis,
the Impersonator talks to an elephant or of a can of Whipped Cream
pontificates about the meaning of life and all sorts of other paranormal
and whimsical stories which are not the sorts of things found in most
people’s sphere of realism. However, they’re quite at home in Flashes
from the Other World.
Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?
JAW: Yes. Fans of magic realism, the Twlight Zone and even the Three Stooges.
In Flashes from the Other World readers will notice these subtle themes:
1. Ghosts meddle with messages and mischief
2. Where the intangible wake up and have their say and then some!
3. Bitter sweetness of mother and daughter relationships
4. Phantom grains of sand wreak havoc for lost youth, love and whimsy.
5. Where romantic love is found and lost.
anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?
JAW: What are some of their favorite stories and the ones that resonated the most?
These are some of mine:
Camp Ghosts, Tatooed Thumb, Was Earl. Mosquito Moon, Red and Lavendar Silk, Ode to the Leafblower
TSR: How does
it feel knowing that people are buying your book?
JAW: It's rewarding to connect to others through my words. I write with
an underlying albeit subconscious theme and that's wonder. I hope that
as readers go through my stories that they will see more wonder in the
My goal that I hope transcends beyond
the words is the ability for others to develop more of an innate
curiosity and an admiration, if not an outright fascination with the
subtle nuances of the human condition and the world around us coupled
with a love of words.
What are you working on now?
JAW: I am working on two evolving story
collections. One is paranormal series with a clairvoyant teenager as the
main character. The other project is a collection of single woman
stories and is more or less light erotica.
the three most recent short story collections you've read?
JAW: The Whole Stories and Other Stories, Ali Smith
The Healings, Oana;
PP, FF, an Anthology